I've always been fascinated and inspired by people who seek out greatness and who have persevered to find that greatness in themselves while inspiring others. When I look at this photo of Cam Newton In his baseball cap and head phones running off the sideline to congratulate
his teammate Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow while he was a freshman at the University of Florida back in the days when he was sitting on the bench behind him, I think of patients, leadership, respect, the bond between teammates, sportsmanship and security.
I never understood why so many people find things to hate about others, versus finding the things that they love about others and working to cultivate those characteristics in themselves. As I've grown through the years my answer to this question remains the same. We are threatened by the things that we don't understand and the things that we do not know. We have become a society of us versus them, my team versus your team, Republicans versus Democrats, the haves versus the have-nots.
When I think of Cam Newton, I don't think of a 6'5" quarterback that weighs 260lbs and runs a 4.5 and who can make plays with his arm and his legs. The reason he inspires me is not that he's a great QB that has multiple commercials and a big contract (even though all those things are true). What inspires me about him is what I think about is his character, his integrity and the road he traveled when the odds were stacked against him in order to reach the success he has now achieved.
I think of the man that persevered when he got into some trouble and had to leave Florida but went on to win a national championship at his junior college. I think of the kid that signed with Auburn, went on to win a Heisman Trophy, and led his team to a national championship at Auburn. I think of a kid who experts said might not be a good pro because he couldn’t stay in the pocket leading his team to the 50th Superbowl.
The critics were wrong, and Mr. Newton will be playing in his first Super Bowl this season. Which brings me back to this photo that inspired me to write this blog. When you see Cam Newton do his dance in the end zone please understand that it is not meant as a sign of disrespect to the other team. That dance is his expression of the joy and the love that he has for the game of football. You see, Mr. Newton was blessed with a lot of physical talent that we see every Sunday, but what inspires me about Cam Newton most is his ability to lead on the field, and more importantly his ability to lead and the things he does off the field. To name a few, his decision to go back to college to graduate when he had just signed a multimillion dollar contract, his continued philanthropic work in his community, and the most important to me- the smile that he creates on every child when he hands them that football after his touchdowns.
So if you are a Cam Newton fan or not, please keep in mind these two thoughts that I tell myself everyday: "Work on being able to find the good in others as well as finding the greatness in people that are not like you" and "Celebrate those who celebrate you and the ones who don't". Because at the end of the day, we are all just passing through.